Roger Moore 10/14/1927-05/23/2017

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I was feeling lately that Roger Moore was ever-present:  I watched an interview on a movie channel two weeks ago;  I watched Live and Let Die and The Man With the Golden Gun as well as The Man Who Haunted Himself over the past week;  and thanks to True Entertainment I’ve been watching The Persuaders! every night, where he dons his own range of clothing – and they really do maketh this most charming of men. So it comes as a shock on this saddest of days to learn that he has died. He was a huge TV star after several years in Hollywood – where he made his debut opposite Elizabeth Taylor:  not too shabby. He described his getup in TV’s Ivanhoe as a mediaeval fireman. He did Maverick until the scripts deteriorated to the point where it was intolerable. He became The Saint. He was frequently voted the Best James Bond because he was so utterly, effortlessly suave and funny, even in that demanding action role, and his self-deprecation carried over into all his public appearances, even accepting and adopting the cruel Spitting Image imitation of his eyebrow acting. He was so unfeasibly handsome he could play a millionaire who makes himself over to be Roger Moore in The Cannonball Run;  voice himself in that Bond-heavy parody Cats & Dogs:  The Revenge of Kitty Galore;  and do An Audience With … evenings in theatres the length and breadth of the UK retelling stories that he recounted hilariously in a series of memoirs.  I loved him because he was the first James Bond I was old enough to see on the big screen, in Moonraker. His movies dominated my weekend afternoons throughout the Eighties – and still do. His humanitarian work overtook his film appearances in later years but he remained what he was the first day he modelled a sweater in the 1940s – a ridiculously good looking, phenomenally nice, underrated star.

Powers Boothe 06/1/1948-05/14/2017

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The great character actor Powers Boothe has died aged 68. I thought he was an awful lot older – partly because he’s been in my life so long and mainly on TV, starting with his truly brilliant impersonation of madman Jim Jones and then the Philip Marlowe series. Only a few film directors truly grasped his potential so it was on the small screen where his work could expand and be properly appreciated. This talented Texan was a joy to watch. Vaya con Dios.

Jonathan Demme 02/22/44-04/26/17

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Multi-talented director Jonathan Demme has died. He got his start with Roger Corman and debuted with a biker movie and naturally graduated to women in prison flicks before entering mainstream Hollywood and making his name with some fine films starring terrific women like Goldie Hawn and Melanie Griffith.  His first critically acclaimed movie was however the wonderful Bo Goldman screenplay Melvin and Howard, one of the best of the Seventies with an unforgettable performance by Jason Robards as Howard Hughes and beautifully shot by longtime collaborator Tak Fujimoto. He made some wonderful documentaries particularly the landmark music film Stop Making Sense with Talking Heads:  who can forget David Byrne on stage in that enormously boxy suit? But his name will be forever associated with a shocking adaptation that is one of that tiny number of films to win the Big 5 at the Academy Awards – The Silence of the Lambs won for Actor, Actress, Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Director. He may have made some missteps and unnecessary remakes but humour, humanity and compassion shone from his work. Demme will be missed.